EPA celebrated 30 years of being the Voice of Parents – Conference report from Luxembourg

Over 80 participants from more than 25 countries celebrated the 30th anniversary of EPA in Luxembourg on 27&28th November. It was a great pleasure to welcome four former Presidents at the event as well as representatives of the Council of Europe, Luxembourgish Presidency of the EU and our precious partners, including the European School Heads Association (ESHA), the European Schoolnet, the WISHES Network and the Austrian Chamber of Commerce. The main findings of two EPA surveys, one on school cost and one on the state of play in the field of parental and student involvement, conducted in the summer and autumn were presented. A flagship policy document corresponding the mid-term working programme of EPA was also launched at the conference.


The European Parliament echoes our message 'invest in children'

In a historical move this week, the majority of Members of the European Parliament signed a declaration promoting investing in children. The Written Declaration, designed to raise political awareness towards the European Commission and the Member States, calls for social and macroeconomic policies to protect children and their families as a political priority, especially those living in poverty. 

More than one child in four is at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the European Union. Poverty experienced during childhood often has life-long consequences and is then passed from one generation to the next. 

The voice of the European Parliament is loud and clear: we need to invest in the children of today. Organisations working to end child poverty and promote child well-being across Europe are encouraged by the support MEPs are giving to this cause. We now look to the Member States and the Commission to make progress on the content of this initiative” said Jana Hainsworth, Eurochild Secretary General.


Mobile technologies at school

EPA Vice President José-Manuel Prats was a member of the expert group publishing a policy paper on behalf of the SchoolEducation Council of Catalonia. We are sharing the paper because we think it can be used in the local and/or national contexts in other regions and countries.

"(1a) The School Education Council of Catalonia, a superior body of participation of the educational community in Catalonia, has, among others, the objective of studying how to improve the way in which teaching adapts to social reality, as well as drawing up its own proposals related to the quality of teaching. In accordance with these duties, this document refers to the need to make mobile technologies compatible with teaching and learning activities by using these devices effectively in schools so that their potential is used to maximum benefit and therefore strengthens the coexistence of education and mobile technologies.


Press release: Representing parents in Europe: the first 30 years

The European Parents’ Association (EPA) is celebrating its 30th Anniversary this year. Our November conference – co-organised and hosted by our Luxembourgish member, FAPEL -, taking place in the EU Presidency country, Luxembourg is aiming at taking stock of the state of play and highlighting some of the areas to be developed in the field of parental involvement. A Manifesto about the direction of parents’ representation for the years to come is launched at the event.

In our event we will revisit the past 30 years, present the results of two recent Europe-wide surveys on parental involvement and school costs, with special focus on the achievements of the past 15 years and give the floor to our members to share their experiences and try to find answers to our questions.


One in four children at risk of poverty in Europe

More than one in four children in Europe are at risk of poverty and social exclusion, which will have repercussions for them throughout life. On Tuesday 24 November MEPs adopted a resolution urging EU countries to boost their efforts to combat child poverty and social inequalities. The text was adopted with 569 in favour, 77 against and 49 abstentions. Check out the map for the latest statistics on child poverty.


Parents’ duties after Paris

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Martin Luther King Jr.

Europe and many other parts of the world are shocked by the terror attacks last Friday, taking the lives of innocents in the name of extremist insanity. Our hearts are broken, like everybody else’s, and we also feel responsible for supporting our children in coping with the situation. We, parents are responsible for the safety, but also for the comfort and happiness of our children, and we are all aware that you cannot live a happy life being afraid. Thus we have to do our best to be vigilant, but at the same time provide our children circumstances that offer the possibility of a happy childhood, also ease their anxiety caused by the events rather than increasing it.


Brussels events to give civil society input on European education and youth policies

On 19th to 21st October there were opportunities for EPA and all other civil society organisations to give input on European education and youth policies. The framework for this was offered through the annual Education, Training and Youth Forum (ETYF) organised by the European Commission and an Erasmus+ Conference hosted by the S&D Group of the European Parliament. The two events provided opportunities for sharing experiences and possible also to have an impact on future policy action by European institutions. In the period of the post-Paris[1] agenda civil society seems to be an inevitable partner for the EU for various reasons.

CEDEFOP Policy Learning Forum in Learning Outcomes in VET

EPA was invited to contribute on the parents’ view on the topic of learning outcomes in a great 2-day event organised at the headquarters of CEDEFOP, in Thessaloniki, Greece at the end of September.

The event was exploring the ways learning outcomes approaches are applied in initial vocational education and training (IVET) throughout Europe. It was to be the first in a series of events that aim to open up for a continuous process of sharing and learning in this area. The PLF will focus on the following questions:
-        How are learning outcomes expectations defined and articulated?
-        What is the content and profile of intended learning outcomes?
-        Who are involved in the definition and articulation of learning outcomes?
-        Why has a particular approach been chosen and to what extent is this embedded in particular education and/or employment policies?

The forum gathered experts and other stakeholders including Social Partners directly involved in the definition, writing and review of learning outcomes for VET. This ‘hands-on approach’ was suitable for an informed exchange of experiences potentially adding substantial value to existing national policies and practices.


Open Seminar on the Scientific, Political and Social Impact of Social Sciences and Humanities

Former EPA President, Johannes Theiner was personally invited to represent EPA in an Open Seminar held in Barcelona on October 2nd, 2015 at Institut d’Estudis Catalans (Catalan Academy of Sciences). He had been invited by the “Impact-EV”-consortium acting within the European framework programme FP7. The purpose of this project is to characterise the impact of Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) and prove the value of their science results.


EU Youth Report

On 15 September the European Commission presented the EU Youth Report 2015 that draws a full picture of the situation of young people in Europe and how policymakers have addressed it in the period 2013-2015.


European Local Democracy Week (ELDW) 2015: “Living together in multicultural societies: respect, dialogue, interaction”

 This week (12 - 18 October) more than 130 events and activities are taking place at local level across 23 member States of the Council of Europe to celebrate the 2015 edition of the European Local Democracy Week (ELDW). Participating municipalities are organising a wide range of events on this year’s theme ‘Living together in multicultural societies: respect, dialogue, interaction’, such as seminars on solidarity, debates on human rights, exchanges with migrants and visits of refugee camps, bilingual theater performances, interviews with foreigners, exhibitions on recent armed conflicts and multicultural coffee mornings. You can still register your event.


Call for laws giving fathers an equal role in raising children

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) is urging Europe’s governments to ensure that fathers can play an equal part in the upbringing of their children, pointing out that the role of dads, including with very young children, “needs to be be better recognised and properly valued”.

The Assembly called for laws which give parents “equal rights vis-à-vis their children”, in the best interests of the child, including paid parental leave available to fathers, “shared residence” arrangements for children when their parents separate, and the possibility of joint custody in case of divorce.


Giving a New Impetus to Citizenship Education - Statement by the EP LLL Interest Group

“The potential role of education and lifelong learning in safeguarding EU fundamental values” was the topic of the second meeting of the Interest Group on Lifelong Learning that took place in Brussels on 22nd of September 2015, in the framework of its 2015-6 focus “Inclusive education for inclusive societies”. It was held on the day of the 10th Anniversary General Assembly of EUCIS-LLL and thus attended by a high number of EUCIS-LLL members, including EPA.


New EU priorities set in education and training

A draft joint report of the European Council and the Commission sets new priorities for European cooperation in education and training as part of the strategy for education and training (ET 2020). The Council is expected to adopt the report by the end of the year.
EUCIS-LLL has published a statement welcoming that there is more emphasis on inclusion and citizenship than before, but also calls the attention to the need for supporting cross-sectoral partnerships.

#WeApologise - Open Letter by the Social Platform and NGOs

An open letter to people fleeing war, persecution and poverty

As Europeans, #WeApologise on behalf of our national and European leaders for their inexcusable lack of coordinated humanitarian aid to the situation you and thousands of others are in while crossing our borders to escape war, persecution and poverty.
We understand that making this journey was not an easy decision for you and may have involved putting the lives of your loved ones at risk, or worse. We will continue to urge our decision-makers to provide safe and regular channels to the EU, so that your wellbeing does not rest in the hands of people smugglers.
Civil society organisations and thousands of people across the EU are taking a stand despite many governments’ inaction by opening their homes, sharing their food and donating their clothes. We will keep pressuring our politicians to fulfil their humanitarian obligation to ensure the provision of such services rather than leaving it up to individuals or organisations to provide them without support.
The decision you made that led you here to Europe required a lot of courage. We implore our leaders to demonstrate the same courage by coming together to find a pan-European response that respects each individual’s human rights regardless of their status
While several of our leaders seem to have forgotten the EU’s core values of solidarity and human rights, we have not. The EU has the capacity to welcome you with open arms, and the unwillingness to do so is an embarrassment to us. We acknowledge your right to seek refuge in safer regions and to be treated with dignity. We also recognise the contribution that you can make and we will fight to give you this opportunity.
In solidarity,


ERNAPE Arctic – Researchers met in Tromsø, Norway to explore parental involvement in education

On 26-28th August we had the opportunity to escape the extreme heat of most of Europe and go to sunny but cool Northern Norway for the 10th ERNAPE Conference on schools, parents and communities. ERNAPE, the European Research Network about Parents in Education despite its name gathers education researchers from not only Europe, but also the USA, Canada and the Far East. EPA has been associated with ERNAPE ever since its establishment and we always are represented at their bi-annual conferences. This time EPA had the opportunity to also present research results, the preliminary outcomes of our Europe-wide survey on parental involvement that will be presented in full at the EPA 30 Jubilee Conference in November. Besides the interesting presentations with special focus on innovation, the most important development since 2 years ago was the highlighted issue of child participation and child agency alongside parental involvement.

You can find detailed information on the conference and also the abstracts of all presentations on the conference website. From an EPA perspective it was relatively strange that a large majority of presenters were indicating that schools aiming at reaching the unique potential of each child with a necessary individual approach have a disadvantageous approach, and as opposed to European policies encouraging this, although acknowledging that is was an approach requiring more funding and more teacher training, they were actually blaming states for dismantling the generalised approach as a result of neo-liberal policy instead of the welfare state approach. It was a strange development especially since the previous ERNAPE event 2 years ago was dealing with equitable and thus necessarily individualised education.


Staying on Track – Presidency Symposium in Luxembourg – report

The Luxembourgish Presidency’s education programme was started with a large symposium on preventing ESL and promoting school success in Europe on 9th and 10th July. Throughout the event the importance of parents was highlighted and the participants have discussed parental involvement in depth. Given this framework EPA was honoured to be part of the closing panel and reflect on the key messages and recommendations coming from workshops of experts, together with representatives of ESHA, ETUCE, OBESSU, EYF and also a high level representative of the European Commission. The importance of the event was very clear from the fact that is was opened jointly by Commissioner Tibor Navracsics and the Luxembourgish Minister of Education, Claude Meisch.


ICOT 2015

ICOT 2015, the International Conference on Thinking took place in Bilbao (Basque Country, Spain) from 29 June to 3 July. It is one of the most important world event in the field of education. EPA was present both as a supporting institutional partner and by the participation of two Vice Presidents, Christian Hellevang and Josep-Manuel Prats.

ICOT is the biggest event on thinking in the world. This year marked the 17th edition and aimed to be a space to raise and discuss ideas and experiences on concepts such as creativity, intelligence, thinking, curiosity, complexity, problem-based learning (PBL), thinking-based learning (TBL), education, networking, learning, leadership, evaluation, measuring sustainability, change and innovation.

EUCIS-LLL Annual Conference 2015

On 15th and 16th June 2015, EUCIS-LLL organised its General Assembly and Annual Conference on “Lifelong Learning, paving the way for learning and qualifications”. At the General Assembly Eszter Salamon, President of EPA was elected to the Steering Committee of EUCIS-LLL and thus parental representation became a reality in the Platform on vice presidential level. The conference, as usual, brought together participants from a variety of sectors, ranging from public institutions, private enterprises to civil society organisations. These events are a great help of the EUCIS-LLL staff and leaders to shape policy recommendations and constitute a genuine moment of dialogue and peer exchange on lifelong learning.


Involved fatherhood is critical to gender equality and child development, reveals first global fatherhood report

The first-ever State of the World’s Fathers (SOWF) report has been presented today at the European Parliament under the framework of the global MenCare fatherhood campaign at a roundtable discussion organised by the S&D Group and Make Mothers Matter. This report is a landmark analysis of fatherhood that draws evidence from hundreds of studies covering all countries in the world with available data.

The SOWF report is intended to provide a periodic, data-driven snapshot of the state of men’s contributions to parenting and care giving globally by addressing four issues related to fatherhood: unpaid care work in the home; maternal, newborn, and child health and sexual and reproductive health and rights; men’s care giving and violence against children and women; and child development.


On Juncker’s Investment Plan – Investing in social progress, human capital, health and education is urgent

Press Statement of the EU Alliance for Investing in Children  on the occasion of the European Parliament’s adoption of the European Fund for Strategic Investments. (The Investment Plan is part of the Commission’s new approach based on three pillars of structural reforms, fiscal responsibility and investment. The Investment Plan aims to unlock public and private investments in the real economy of at least € 315 billion over the next three years (2015-2017). To provide this additional financing a new European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) is being set up based on a proposal by the European Commission.)


Wikiprogress Online Consultation on Youth Well-being: Summary Report

The first Wikiprogress Online Consultation was a big success and the organisers thank all of you who took part. The consultation had around 300 registered participants and over 500 comments. As you may all know EPA was a partner in the consultation and we are very happy that the crucial role of parents was highlighted during it.

A summary report was produced, summarising some of the key points made in the consultation, and can be downloaded here.

The consultation findings and aspects of Youth Well-being more generally were discussed at a special session at the OECD Forum in Paris on 2 June.  Marianna Georgallis, Policy and Advocacy Officer from the European Youth Forum (one of the consultation partners) outlined some of the main issues and led the discussion.  The session, titled “What Does Youth Well-Being Really Mean?” was attended by around 50 people from the Forum, with many youth participants, and there was a lively discussion around the questions raised by the consultation.


Country-Specific Recommendations fail children - Urgent call to Action

Press Release of the EU Alliance for Investing in Children[i] ahead of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) 18-19 June 2015 and in view of their expected approval of the Country-Specific Recommendations, as a reaction to the 2015 National Reform Programmes


MenCare for active paternal engagement in child care - Newsflesh from Bulgaria

About an year ago a consortium of 10 Bulgarian NGOs - our Bulgarian member, Roditeli being one of them - launched a MenCare campaign in support of active male engagement in child care. For the very first time a national fatherhood campaign is organized in Bulgaria. After a year of intensive work and discovering the uncovered path, the project team was pleasantly surprised by the first positive results. "To be a Dad" has developed into one of the strongest viral campaign (without any budget for advertising) for the last 10 years in Bulgaria. The work team was awarded with the prestigious award for the Bulgarian non-governmental sector "Project of the Year - 2014", followed with the special prize "Father of the Year Award - 2015". For a period of year and a half more than 100 organizations are involved as supporters of the campaign. What are the reasons for this success? How the campaign was able to reach so many families and touch emotionally Bulgarian men? What is the secret? Get ideas in support for your MenCare campaigns by reading the attached articles (they give insights about our approach for social change and explain our path to the success).


Policy debate on intergenerational learning - report on the EUCIS-LLL event 31 March 2015

Population ageing will continue with accelerating pace in the next decades. Today half of the population is 40 years old or above while in 2060 half of the population will be aged 48 years or above. These trends require some considerable societal adaptations regarding work, family life and social protection. Many European practices, as well as research, show that intergenerational learning can be a strong boost for improving learning take up and attainment as well as a sense of solidarity. It is about learning together and learning from each other, and therefore it is an effective way to address a number of issues such as building active communities, promoting citizenship and addressing inequality. For instance, family learning should be integrated in educational institutions’ strategies to raise young learners’ attainment and to narrow the gap between the lowest and highest achievers. The potential in Europe is huge - being active, healthy and participative well into old age is a realistic prospect for a very large number of citizens. Yet, at the same time, only a small minority of people spend their retirement years on active engagement in continuous labour market participation and community life through voluntary activities and active leisure. This debate was aiming at sharing practices and views on how and why the intergenerational dimension should be mainstreamed in lifelong learning strategies. Participants discussed important related issues, such as how to understand intergenerational solidarity, how to promote active ageing and how to better share good practices. MEP Heinz Becker was hosting the event highlighting the importance of the topic.

Detailed and very colourful report of the event can be read here

School leadership in Europe - Toolkit published as the final outcome of a 4-year project

As the readers of our blog surely know EPA was part of a European network of over 30 partners working on policy recommendations and tools about school leadership for equity and learning, EPNoSL. On 28/29 May 2015 a so-called Peer Learning Activity (PLA) was held in Heraklion, Crete, Greece as the closing event of this project-like network. For EPA the most important outcome of the project is the Toolkit for Equity and Learning that has a separate chapter on stakeholder collaboration.


Parenting skills - the importance of training and validation

EPA was invited to take part at the Policy Debate on Intergenerational Learning on 30 March in Brussels. There, as usual, we emphasised the important role parents and grandparents play in the education of children and also the vast amount of learning they do while parenting. Andrew McCoshan from the ePlatform for Adult Learning in Europe became interested in the topic and as a result he published an article about EPA on this website of the European Commission: Why we need more quality learning opportunities for parents


Digitalisation programme for schools - newsflash from Croatia

The CEDEFOP website reported on a massive digitalisation programme of Croatian schools that will include the introduction of e-class registers (a well-established practice still a controversial one froma a parental point of view in many countries), a national distance learning portal and School 2.0, a 21st century way of schooling. Korak po Korak, the Croatian member of EPA has collected the opinion of some parents on the e-class register (e-class book) they already have experience with. The following reviews do not tackle the educational and trust issues arising from the introduction of this kind of feedback leaving out the child-parent bond yet, an issue in other countries.


Conference report on the Prague EPA Conference

On 24th and 25th April Prague hosted an EPA Conference on Supporting Parents to become the Best Primary Educators. EPA members were enjoying the possibility to explore the capital of the Czech Republic, a white spot on the map of EPA until now, but we also had an opportunity to learn about local and international initiatives aiming at supporting parents in their parenting roles. We were really honoured that the conference was attended and greeted by the Chairman of the Czech Parliamentary Committee on Education, Culture, Youth and Sports, the local mayor, high-ranking officials from the Ministry of Education and Municipality of Prague.

#DeliverNow - on Mother's Day for the EU Maternity Leave Directive

Half of Europe celebrates Mother’s Day today, 3 May, the other half will do so on 10 May. This occasion gives us a good opportunity to highlight the fact that the European Commission seems to be determined to withdraw the EU Maternity Leave Directive. It was adopted by the European Parliament in first reading in 2010, but the European Council is reluctant to put it on their agenda ever since quoting its being untimely because of the economic crisis. It proposes a minimum of 20 weeks of fully paid maternity leave (as compared to the present 14 weeks), the protection of pregnant women’s jobs and also a minimum of 2 weeks paid paternity leave. The European Women’s Lobby has been doing an extensive campaign to save the initiative.


Intergenerational Learning for Sustainable Societies - message on the European Day of Solidarity between Generations

EUCIS-LLL Press Release
Today, on the European Day of Solidarity between Generations, half of the population is 40   years old or above, and it is estimated to be 48 years or above in 2060, inevitably shaking our already fragile social structures. It is high time we take solid measures to bridge the increasing gaps between generations and sharpen ourselves up for challenges ahead. Education is a natural setting to support intergenerational solidarity and many interesting initiatives are already taking place in our schools, universities, in adult education and other non-formal and informal education settings. They offer new ways of sharing knowledge and creating more cohesive societies. EUCIS-LLL strongly believes that intergenerational learning is now more relevant than ever and should be mainstreamed at all levels. 


Call for Lab Submissions: Freedom vs control: For a democratic response

The Strasbourg World Forum for Democracy is an annual gathering of leaders, opinion-makers, civil society activists, representatives of business, social innovators, academia, and media to debate key challenges for democracies worldwide and encourage democratic innovation.

The fourth edition of the World Forum for Democracy, to take place on 18-20 November 2015, will focus on the challenges democracies face in addressing security risks without jeopardising freedom and democratic stability.

For the first time, the Forum will not only showcase already existing initiatives, but also innovative, untested ideas[3] to maintain and develop democracy’s basic principles in times of increasing security threats.

Interested organisations worldwide are invited to express their interest in presenting either an example/initiative or an idea to respond to security threats in a way that preserves the basic principles of democracy such as freedom of expression, public deliberation, and the privacy of citizens, by answering the questionnaire in the appendix and sending it to forum_democracy@coe.int by 15 May 2015. The World Forum Task Force will select the most interesting and relevant proposals in June 2015.


Promoting reading on mobiles - the key message of World Book and Copyright Day, 23 April 2015

Millions of people do not read for one reason: they do not have access to text. But today mobile phones and cellular networks are transforming a scarce resource into an abundant one.
Drawing on the analysis of over 4,000 surveys collected in seven developing countries and corresponding qualitative interviews, this report paints the most detailed picture to date of who reads books and stories on mobile devices and why.
The findings illuminate, for the first time, the habits, beliefs and profiles of mobile readers.  This information points to strategies to expand mobile reading and, by extension, the educational, social and economic benefits associated with increased reading.
Mobile technology can advance literacy and learning in underserved communities around the world. This report shows how. 
Read the full report here
Great infographic on the key messages here
Source: unesco.org


Learning should be fun - it is the best way to educate lifelong learners

The LEGO Idea Conference 2015 (14/15 April 2015) gathered over 300 carefully selected experts from all around the world with a diverse background from academia to practice with a very ambitious goal: defining solution to address barriers to unlock every child’s potential. The aim was not only to identify and agree on barriers blocking progress, but also to co-create new ideas, innovations and partnerships to overcome these barriers. In general to promote learning as something great and enjoyable – and also to make it become like that. The day before the conference also offered an opportunity to start working with a small core group of experts around this – a group thinking that is planned to go on for the years to come - and also to meet the owner of LEGO, Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, a visionary and dedicated man.


Join us and participate at the Youth Well-Being Consultation

Active Europe, CATALYST, Commonwealth Secretariat Youth Division, European Parents’ Association (EPA), European Youth Forum, Health Behaviour of School-Aged Children (HBSC), International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), International Youth Foundation, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Restless Development, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP),  Web-COSI and Youth Policy 

invite you to join the


Wikiprogress Online Consultation onYouth Well-being

 Open now and running until the 15th May 2015


Education Ministers adopt a declaration to tackle intolerance, discrimination and radicalisation

During the informal meeting in Paris on 17 March, which was honoured by the presence of the French President François Hollande, Education Ministers from the European Union Member States and Mr Tibor Navracsics, the Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport adopted the Declaration on promoting citizenship and the common values of freedom, tolerance and non-discrimination through education.

Implementation of the Investing in Children EC Recommendation - New handbook published

The 2013 European Commission Recommendation “Investing in Children: Breaking the cycle of disadvantage” presented a comprehensive policy approach to child poverty and well-being. A new Implementation Handbook by Eurochild and its partners in the Alliance of Investing in Children (including EPA) launched on 1st April in Brussels, shows how Member States can translate the policy guidelines into action.


Today's school is not suitable for today's children - can a critical mass of parents demanding change created?

The European Federation of Conflict Management and Treatment in Education and Care (EFeCT) held Badkid, its 7th International Meeting in Budapest. I had the opportunity to participate at the event and initiate an open space discussion on the topic „What can be done to change perceptions and systems to prove most ’badkids’ are actually ’goodkids’? The lively discussion raised a few good ideas.  

The participants of the event were mainly professionals dealing with children bearing a SEN-laben (Special Education Need). In the discussion group we have agreed that there is a very interesting situation now. Even a few years back only a very low percentage of children were considered SEN, but today there is a critical mass, at least over 20% of children simply do not fit in traditional schools.
There is a lot of scientific evidence that children of today and school of the last century are simply not compatible, but policy makers do not seem to notice it. One of the ideas raised was that we have to make scientific evidence a strong case, but not only on itself, but also financially as this is the language policy makers usually understand. We have agreed that is also important to change teacher training, but we did not agree whether a different type of training is destined to change teaching or good innovative methods will slowly get into training after they made a change on small scale. There was an agreement on the importance of positive feedback – both professional and public – to those who do good.

We have discussed how committed professionals and parents raise the awareness of the general public. We seem to meet a typical behaviour every day: parents tend to accept schools that are a waste of time or straightforward unsuitable for their children remembering their own school years that were also boring and useless, but the children must bear it as they have survived themselves. We were trying to find some key idea on how we can make parents notice that this is not necessary, but school years can actually be useful and fun. The participants came to the conclusion that use of a simple language is key as well as playing on feelings instead of logics. Good experiences can be spread using grapevines, local and wider, and it will hopefully result on substantial upscaling of methods that work. In times when most people are consumers in the traditional meaning of the word, one suggestion was to build a strong brand of modern school and 'simply' sell it to parents.  

The organiser of the event, the European Federation of Conflict Management and Treatment in Education and Care (EFeCT), founded in November 2007, is vested in Ghent, Belgium.  EFeCT is a network of organizations and individuals who believe in strength based programs for working with young people; they have a particular interest in the Life Space Crisis Intervention model and the work of Reclaiming Youth International.  EFeCT currently has members from 8 European countries: the Netherlands, Germany, Scotland, Norway, Portugal, Belgium, Romania and Hungary.  The main goal of EFeCT is to gather and discuss critically the information and scientific studies about methodologies in conflict management.  The population they wish to delineate consists of children and youths who display disruptive behaviour.  Together they aim to promote strength based approaches and to further the interventions with troubled and troubling youths that empower them and allow them to become satisfied and productive citizens. Every year the EFeCT group gathers in a different country to address the most relevant issues in the field. 

EFeCT and EPA is considering possible joint projects in the future.


Get Online Week - 23-29 March 2015

Not every European is digital just yet. But we’re getting there. Thousands of community telecentres get people online and on jobs across Europe. We celebrate their work in the last week of March every year, by organizing European Get Online Week (GOW) – to empower a digital Europe.
On 23-29 March 2015, Europe is invited to enter a digital world full of benefits. With 20% Europeans still offline and with 39% of the EU workforce lacking proper digital skills[1], the campaign partners have much to do, especially looking at the hundreds of thousands of digital jobs available on the labour market. The equation is simple. Get those 20% online and get those 39% aware and ready to take the available digital jobs.


Joyce Epstein in Glasgow - Newsflash from Scotland

The Annual Lecture of SPTC was given by an old friend of EPA. On 3 March parents, teachers and educational stakeholders gathered at Glasgow Science Centre to hear from Dr Joyce Epstein, a researcher and leader in the world of education and parental involvement, based at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. You can listen to the whole lecture at this link.


Statement of the EU Alliance for Investing in Children on the Europe 2020 Integrated Guidelines


In October 2014, the EU Alliance for Investing in Children, which brings together 24 European networks sharing a commitment to end child poverty and to promote children’s rights and child well-being, responded to the public consultation on the Europe 2020 Strategy. In its response, the EU Alliance argued that the Europe 2020 strategy is potentially the main tool to realise the European Commission Recommendation Investing in Children – Breaking the Cycle of Disadvantage(ii). The Recommendation is a commitment endorsed by Member States calling for concerted efforts to end child poverty and promote child well-being across Europe.

Following the publication of the new Europe 2020 Integrated Guidelines 
COM (2015) 98 & 99 on 2 March 2015, we want to highlight our concern and reiterate our messages.


The Entrepreneurial Skills Pass

Yes, we are convinced that you can teach entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurial mindset. Entrepreneurship is all about attitudes, skills and competences. - says Friederike Sözen in her guest article about ESP.


Invitation to the Policy Debate on 'Intergenerational learning for inclusive societies' on 31 March 2015

EUCIS-LLL, the European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA) and EPA are organising a policy debate on intergenerational learning in Brussels, on 31 March 2015. The event will be hosted by MEP Heinz Becker and supported by Goodyear.


Gender Equality: success factor for lifelong learning strategies - EUCIS-LLL Statement

On 8 March the International Women’s Day took place, highlighting progress all over the world in reaching equality for women's social, economic and political participation. This year the UN theme “Empowering Women - Empowering Humanity: Picture It!" envisions a world where each woman and girl can exercise her choices, such as participating in politics, getting an education, having an income, and living in societies free from violence and discrimination. On the 20th anniversary of Beijing Platform for Action facts show that there is still a long road ahead to reach those goals. EUCIS-LLL thus calls for a greater attention to gender equality notably by mainstreaming it in lifelong learning strategies in order to empower girls and women and build more prosperous and fairer societies.


Conference in Barcelona on using mobile technology in education

Changing Education Together Conference, part of  the “mSchools” program promoted by GSMA was held on 5th March 2015 within the framework of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. More than 500 school principals have pondered the incorporation of mobile technology in the classroom of Catalonian Schools. There are more than 400 different examples that are already functioning. EPA was represented at the event by Josep Manuel Prats, Vice President of EPA, President of Fapel (Spain, Catalonia).


The OECD's ABC of Gender Equality in Education - food for thought for parents

A recent PISA publication by OECD is exploring gender equality in education with special focus on STEM education (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). An infographics shows the most significant and eye-caching facts calling the attention of the readers to the fact that more boys are underachievers in mathematics and science than girls while girls have much less confidence in themselves in this field. For parents the most important findings show that traditional gender roles have a very high effect on parents' view and girls are not often encouraged to find their careers in STEM. It is time for parents to face realities are reconsider the way they guide their children towards their future careers.


Work-family life reconciliation issues for parents in Europe

One of the main EPA policy documents highlighting the issues European parents are facing is the Leave of Absence manifesto, dating back to 2009. In this document there are two areas covered in relation to reconciling work and family life, namely

  • on the one hand demanding legal structures and resources guaranteeing that parents can fulfil their parental duties even if they fall to regular working hours,
  • on the other hand demanding for skills and competences learnt during parenting to be acknowledged and recognised for employability.


School Education Gateway - a new tool to learn about European education policies

European-level initiatives for schools can too easily remain unknown, inaccessible or uninteresting for teachers and other education professionals. A new website, the School Education Gateway, shall provide clear information on education initiatives across Europe. The website is aimed primarily at teachers and school staff, as well as education sector experts and organisations.

Training material on Investing in Children available online

The European Institute of Public Administration has recently made available some material delivered during recent training sessions organised by the European Commission . The training was designed for national administrators who are currently working on developing implementation strategies for theRecommendation 'Investing in children - breaking the cycle of disadvantage'. This builds on the training seminars held throughout Europe over the past months, notably in Athens in May 2014, and in Italy in March 2014.

European Semester Country Reports published by the European Commission

On 26 February 2015, the European Commission published a series of country-specific documents as the next step in the 2015 European Semester cycle. As three headline targets concern children and young people, the reports explore the situation in the field of early school leaving, participation in tertiary education, youth unemployment and child poverty country-by-country.


Listen to the Voice of Children - Why do we have to change education?

On 27 February EPA's president participated at the Voice of Children – from communication to self-expression - Conference organised by Butterflywise and the Alliance forChildhood. While we had the opportunity to learn a lot about the way Butterflywise’s education system works, we could also learn a lot from the introductory speech of Christopher Clouder on how much we can learn from our children and how important play and playfulness are for their education. Noemi Paymal, a world-known anthropologist presented her Pedagooogia 3000 initiative and emphasised the need to change schools nearly fully to meet the needs and potential of the new generations that is proven to be a next phase in the evolution of mankind.

Report on the January session of the INGO Conference

At the session of 26-29 January, the INGOs Conference of the Council of Europe, elected its new board and an expert on gender equality. The Conference held a debate and adopted a resolution following the terrorist attacks in Paris. The Conference organized a visit of a group of Ukrainian NGOs to discuss the implementation of the strategic priorities for the promotion of civil participation in decision making in Ukraine and adopted a resolution on "civil society, peace and democracy in Ukraine. The Conference welcomed a delegation of the Ministry of Relations with Parliament and Civil Society of the Kingdom of Morocco for an exchange of views on possible future cooperation.


The importance and challenges of involving parents in the value-based education of children

The European Wergeland Centre is promoting education for democratic citizenship, human rights and intercultural understanding. They have a so-called EWC Statement Series in order to highlight recent and ongoing research activities. They are regularly inviting scholars and other education professionals to publish their views on topics related to their work. The statement are published both online and in a printed booklet each year. Following up to the much applauded keynote and workshop of Zakia Akkouh from EWC at the EPA conference in Bucharest in December 2014, they have invited the president of EPA to write such a statement on the role of parents in citizenship and human rights education as well as intercultural understanding.